Thursday, May 31, 2012

Rebecca Adlington's Twitter account as described in a 63-word sentence by Craig Lord

Craig Lord writes: "...In the past week, Rebecca Adlington has sent out more than 50 tweets, visible to the 48,935 who follow her and the whole world in the transparent myosphere of mini messages that dance along a spectrum of human nature, from the stuff that makes you smile for myriad reasons to the stuff that makes you weep for the woe to be found therein. ..." [Link]

I have to admit I had to look up the word myosphere. It sounded so important and intellectual that I had to see if I could use it somewhere so I could sound smart too. Well... it turns out it is not a real word. I did find a slang usage that stated the following: "...Made up region of the atmosphere used as a BS test answer by geography students. Official sounding, and might fool slow-witted teaching interns..." [Link]

I am the last person who is eligible to spank Craig Lord's writing since I myself have proven day-in and day-out that I have definitely not mastered the "black arts" of English grammar and spelling. SO, if I am going to criticize Craig Lord's keyboard for "drinking", I should be expected to produce something better; here goes...

Rebecca Adlington has a Twitter account, a very dangerous weapon in the hands of a celebrity especially if they "shoot their mouths off" before they "aim." She's got enough followers to fill up a moderately sized football stadium yet she is leveraging her Twitter account like a personal diary rather than a news and promotional tool.

Tweets Include:

"... I'm not an athlete who wants to do everything they can to raise their profile. It's not about that - it's about me swimming. It's not about making lots of money. I want to let my swimming do the talking more than anything else. ..."
"... I used to read all the stuff about me but I'm one of those people who scroll down to the bottom and read the comments thing. I learned very quickly not to do that," she said at a small gathering of media of late. "It is awful and I get angry. Even if there are 10 nice comments you get one idiot. I've now given up. It upsets me or gets me angry. ..."

My advice to Adlington: There was a famous comedic actor by the name of Charlie Chaplin. He was so good at his craft that there would not be a Jim Carry or a Jerry Lewis if it were not for him. Even Albert Einstein adored him and they would hang out together.

One day they both arrived at party together and everyone in attendance stopped what they were doing and began applauding them. Albert Einstein, under his breath asked Charlie Chaplin, "what does this mean, this applause; " - What does this mean?" Chaplin replied, "It means nothing. Absolutely nothing."

What the public says, what this blogger says, means absolutely nothing. You are not running for office; but note, the fact that we are saying anything means you were worthy of our time, efforts and attention. Please enjoy it, and please enjoy yourself.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wall Street Journal: How not to ruin a swim prodigy!

Our friend, Hubie, sent me this profile on Missy Franklin from the Wall Street Journal. It details her lifestyle and more importantly why swimming, when placed in the proper perspective, isn't a job but rather a whole bunch of fun!

From the Wall Street Journal:
This meant that Franklin would swim two hours a day, five or six days a week, with an average of roughly 4,000-5,000 yards per day—less than half the yardage logged by top college swimmers. In the summer, he doesn't hold Saturday morning practices, giving Franklin and all of his other swimmers a weekend-long break from the pool.

"The last thing I want to do is for them to get to the end of the summer and feel like all they've done is swim," he said 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fortune Mag: A breakdown of Ryan Lochte's income!

$2.3-million is a lot money but he probably "only" gets to keep 50% of it after taxes, agent fees and a good lawyer.

We only have two swimmers in our USA Swimming ranks making this kind of money and one of them is about to cash out. When he does, I don't believe there will be another swimmer who will make that sort of capital for a very long time. The world has caught up and we should probably look towards China for the next "Michael Phelps." Population-wise, for every Michael Phelps we have, China potentially has six of them.

Speaking of the greatest swimmer of all time: both Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps may have lofty goals of growing the sport of swimming but I think they could truly could grow the sport if they used their political muscle to elevate the standard of living of those swimmers on our national team. If more than two swimmers made an affluent wage, people would want to start swimming. Tennis and golf are examples.

Flexing political muscle could include demanding collective bargaining rights between swimmers and the USOC or our two superstars and the rest of the national team refuse to swim. Note, the USOC recently received nearly half-a-billion dollars from the International Olympic Committee so they have the money. Bargaining rights would allow for better compensation via USA Swimming as well.

The article gives an inside look as to how swimming is funded as well and it is not very pretty.

From Fortune Magazine:
FORTUNE -- Americans love to swim: 93 million people do so and spend $1.4 billion on suits every year. For professional swimmers, this means both lucrative sponsorship and a deep-pocketed support organization -- USA Swimming raises about $100 million a year, from its nearly 300,000 members' registration fees, taking a share of about a sixth of that money for its own revenue. Much like running, swimming is a sport in which the elites are supported by the hobbyists. The cut from member registration -- about $16 million in 2011 -- keeps the elites afloat.

Read this line in slo-mo:  "...Swimming is a sport in which the elites are supported by the hobbyists..." No, Mr. Alex Konrad, swimming is a sport where the elite athletes are supported mostly by 12-to-13-year girls with the better part of their donation NOT going to the elite swimmers we produce.

Monday, May 28, 2012

A 40-year-old woman is rated 140th in the world in the 800m-free

UPDATE: Fixed age from 45-years-of-age down to 40-years old. Ooops! MY BAD.

Her name is Janet Evans and by swimming 8:49.36 effort in the 800-meter freestyle, a forty-five-year-old woman is now rated 140th in the world.

From the New York Times:

Evans finished in 8:49.36. She stayed close to the top three in the early stages of the 16-lap race before fading in the second half of the eight-woman race. She was the first woman to win back-to-back Olympic titles in the 800 in 1988 and '92. 
"It was a little disappointing, but I think she's tired from training," said Mark Schubert, Evans' longtime coach. During her comeback, Schubert has tinkered slightly with Evans' famed windmill stroke in which her head and shoulders come up out of the water more than most swimmers.  
"We tried to get her head down and get her to swim in and out of her turns a little better, which she's doing," Schubert said. "You don't make huge changes. It's just trying to figure out the right things to do the last four or five weeks before trials." 
If Janet Evans were a tennis player ranked 140th-in-the-world, Evans would be able to play in the first-round of tennis at the Australian Open. Swimming, as it is conducted today, only appreciates the top three swimmers. Hence, the sport has few heroes or sources of inspiration.

Consider this, our events are conducted like horse races rather than one-one-one competitions. If a competitor is not in the top-three in any event the chances are that they are not sponsored nor appreciated. But as for Janet Evans, she has proven that she can beat 99.999999% any female in the 800-free at 40-years-of-age and like Dara Torres, that's inspirational.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Piers Morgan interviews Dara Torres at CNN

"AT" - "Aquatic Terrestrial, First Contact" photo

Click on the photo to enlarge it and then hum the ET theme or in my case I hummed the 2001 A Space Odyssey Opening; (Richard Strauss Also Sprach Zarathustra Op. 30)

Swim Brief: "Will College Swimming Lose a Generation?" - YES, they will

Swim Brief poses this question:
It's no secret that college swimming is in trouble, and has been for a couple decades. I don't have to look beyond my own conference (ACC) to see one team having swum it's last meet (Clemson) and another fighting for it's existence (Maryland). The reasons are numerous, systemic and evolving. In the past, Title IX was casually thrown out as a reason to cut men's teams. Currently, "budget cuts" necessitated by overspending athletic directors have been the culprit more often than not. For all the efforts of the swimming community, if this is a war than we are losing badly.


The answer is college swimming is circling the drain and nobody is stopping it However,  capitalism can solve this problem.

Example: Hunting lions in Kenya actually saved the lions and the villagers actually became their protectors.

An NPR story revealed that lions were being poisoned by the local population into near extinction. They poisoned the lions so for obvious reasons. Who wants a lion in their back yard and how many kids do you have to lose till enough is enough?

A naturalist used capitalism to convinced the town to abolish poisoning and allow limited hunting of replaced alpha males for a fee of $10,000 to $100,000 a head.

Older male lions have huge manes and look awesome; the new alpha males don't. They are just burly young "thugs". Killing off the former alpha-males provided money for fences, schools and lion deterrents. Now the Kenyans and the Namibian's hunt poachers for the lions are a resource. A valuable resource.

From NPR: 
 "...Since the conservancies started in 1998, they've collected nearly $27 million in gross income, in a country where rural families live on a few dollars a day." 

The game has to change for swimming for the sport is evaporating. Swimmers need to become a resource. That means bringing money to the sport and that translates to gambling and redefining of how the sport is executed. The eight lane, multiple heat, format has to change and the sport needs to become bracketed like tennis, or NCAA Basketball as an example.

When swimmers become "lions" the "village;" (read as all the colleges at large), will protect them!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Ryan Lochte's "cross training" disturbs Greg Troy his coach!

From the Time Magazine blog: 
"...  Defying his coach Gregg Troy’s advice — and no doubt giving Troy anxiety attacks — he continues to skateboard and play basketball, his out-of-the-water passions, every other day. “Oh, yeah, he’s terrified of me playing other sports,” says Lochte. “He’s waiting for me to come in one day with a broken ankle or something. But I told him, This is me. If I break my ankle right now, this Olympics wasn’t meant to be. I’m going to keep living my life the way I’ve been living my life, and nothing is going to change that even if the Olympics are coming up. ...” 
Though I don't agree with the philosophy I do agree with his attitude. After all, when all is said and done, swimming is simply a recreational sport.

Sixth Appellate District Court has ordered USA Swimming to turn over all sexual abuse and molestation complaints going back 20-years!

I was just sent a link to a press release regarding USA Swimming being ordered to report all sexual abuse complaints made over the last 20-years.

Who knows, we may even see a complaint from Diana Nyad!

I checked this out and it is for real.  I included a link to the PDF at the bottom of the block-quote. 

 May 24, 2012 -- San Jose, CA -- The law firms of Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard of San Jose, California, and Shamberg, Johnson and Bergman in Kansas City, Missouri, are announcing that the California Court of Appeal, Sixth Appellate District, has ordered USA Swimming to turn over all sexual abuse and molestation complaints going back the last twenty years. The two law firms represent plaintiff Jancy Thompson in a case seeking monetary damages for the alleged sexual abuse and molestation by USA Swimming certified Coach Norm Havercroft that the lawsuit claims could have been prevented by USA Swimming (Santa Clara County Superior Court, Case #CV174783). The latest ruling filed by the court on May 18, 2012 (Order #H038057) denied USA Swimming's request to stop the production of the documents. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Oregon Live: Profile on Eric Shanteau

When Eric Shanteau was swimming for TYR, I called up the PR person there and suggested that TYR offer to pay Eric Shanteau's cancer treatment. I said it would be so generous of TYR to do that and a gesture that would be recognized throughout the swim community... It didn't fly; quite naive of me too. However, TYR does have a charity they focus on here in So Cal and we all should appreciate that.

Nonetheless, he's healthy and Oregon Live has a profile:
"It's funny," Shanteau said. "I went back and watched some of the interviews from 2008. I was caught on camera several times saying, 'Oh, this is it for me.'"
He pauses for a second, pondering what led him to stick with the sport that has been such a big part of his life, even when cancer threatened to derail it.
"I just felt like I still had something to prove," Shanteau said. "It just kind of snowballed from there. I started swimming well and better and faster than I ever had before. I just took off and kept going, and here I am four years later."
Shanteau still undergoes cancer screenings twice a year, and there's been no sign of a recurrence. But the disease still casts a heavy toll on his family, having claimed his father's life after Beijing.

"Obviously, losing a parent is very difficult," Shanteau said. "I miss my dad every day, but I know he would be proud to see me continuing to swim and going for another shot at the Olympics."

There have been plenty of good times, as well. Just this week, Shanteau celebrated the first anniversary of his marriage to Jeri Moss, an event that brought some much-needed balance to his life.


For men only: The best diagnostic weight measurement tool for the male gender!

Doctor Alan Lee of UCLA told me that the best way for a man to determine if his overall weight is in the healthy range is to take a tape measure and measure both your height and your waist size. Once you have those numbers take you waist size and times it by two.  Then compare the numbers. If the waist size surpasses the height numeral, you are in serious trouble.

For instance, I am 73.5-inches tall; My waist is 36-inches-in-circumference. Once I double the 36-numeral, my value is obviously 72-inches which is an inch-and-a-half less than my height. I am shooting for a 34-inch waist but considering that my waist was once 41-inches-in-circumference some 8-years ago, I am pretty happy.

One-in-three people are obese and that includes swimmers. If you need or want a "wake-up call" so as to be "scared skinny" - see the new HBO series Weight of the Nation or got to the site link. Being just slightly overweight and/or obese is summarily shocking once you see what it does to the inside of your body.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

ESPN: Phelps ready to dry off for good!

Deconstruct these paragraphs, then read the article:

From ESPN:
"... "If you want to know the truth," Phelps says, "the first three years after Beijing my training was really kind of a joke. I couldn't find any motivation. But then, in June (2011), I found it again. I just decided if I'm going to do this, I'm going to have fun. And I am having fun. This is the happiest I've been since Beijing."

That's been a relief to his legendary coach, Bowman, who has been with him since Phelps was 11.
"You can lead a Phelps to water but you can't make him swim," Bowman says. "Actually, the first three years, you couldn't even lead him to water."

From Athens to Beijing, Phelps probably had four days off. Total. From Beijing to today? "Probably 200," says Bowman. "And then, last June, he just started showing up again." ..." 

I so smell Ian Thorpe.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Attempted suicide at Niagra Falls - Man plummets 188-feet over the falls but survives!

Despondent man jumps into the Niagra river and is consequently swept violently over the falls. Lucid when reached by rescuers the 40-year-old man mentioned when questioned that he jumped in on his own accord.

The chaos of the river and the resulting fall dropped the man within a spontaneously created eddy which allowed the individual to avoid Niagra's vicious current.  Thankfully for both he and his family he is going to survive.

What I found oddly perplexing is not that he forewent the usual "safety device" known in Canada as a "barrel" but rather he wore a Hawaiian-print swimsuit. Who plans a suicide like that and since when is a barrel considered a safety device to travel through a watery abyss?

I kid you not. From the Niagra Falls Review:
"... A police report states the man climbed over the retaining wall near the brink of the falls and deliberately jumped into the water. He was seen going over the falls, then spotted by witnesses surfacing in the lower river near the observation deck at the Journey Behind the Falls.

It’s only the fourth time a person is known to have survived a plunge over the falls, without a protective device like a barrel.

Gallagher described Monday’s survivor as being middle-aged, but did not release his name, his hometown or any indication why he went into the water. Police typically do not release the names of people who have attempted suicide. ..."

[Link]  - [Gallery Link]

Jekyll Island Turtle Crawl Tri - Triathlete dies during swim portion of cardiac arrest

Cardiac arrest again and as usual drowning was not the official cause of death.  After being rescued from the water by lifeguards, the triathlete later died in a hospital.

There is seemingly something about the start of a triathlon that can take a presumably healthy candidate and tax their heart into a cardiac event. Could it be the lack of a warm-up? the water is too warm or or too cold. Low QT syndrome and/or even fright?

From the Florida Times Union:
"... The 44-year-old man suffered an apparent cardiac arrest and was rescued from the water by event lifeguards, said Eric Garvey, spokesman for the Jekyll Island Authority.

EMTs from the Jekyll Island Fire Department met the lifeguards on the beach and began performing CPR immediately, Garvey said. ..."


Open water swimming is the "wild west" of our sport and it needs a lot of investigation as to how to make it safer. From water temps, to heart rythms, to safety standards.

Above is a photo of the Alcatraz Sharkfest boat drop-off and starting line taken by Scott Belland.

Friday, May 18, 2012

This is the correct way to light an Olympic flame - With a bow and arrow!

That is the way to do it. Get an archer who only gets one shot with about 15% or 1-billion of the world watching, baby!

Michael Phelps: "...I'm so sick of the water. ...Do you have any IDEA how much of my life I've spent in the water?.."

Michael, give your Olympic spot to somebody else! - Let somebody else go for you obviously want this over with.

Tell me if the fire is back in his belly after this Michael Phelps quote to Rick Reilly of ESPN:
"...I'm so sick of the water. Even when I go to the beach with my friends. They're like, 'Why won't you get in?' And I'm like, 'Do you have any IDEA how much of my life I've spent in the water?'..."

The ESPN article is really resonates how faraway from the pool he wants to get.

These are the most unmeasured words he has ever uttered. You can't open up a swim school saying stuff like this. You can't inspire kids to jump in a pool and expect them to swim 5-hours a day and/or represent their country in the Olympics with words like these.

I am so sorry that he feels this way for it is more fun to watch an athlete who loves the game.

CRAIG LORD: Swimming New Zealand boss and the board of directors asked to resign!

I am actually linking to Swim News because this article is that important. There is a saying, "Only Richard Nixon could go to China." (Richard Nixon was an anti-communist President who opened relations with Communist China.) Well, Only Tony Austin can link to Swim News. ;-)

Could the same happen to USA Swimming after an intense public scrutiny? How much power does the CEO or Board of Directors have? Who would win in fight between the two?

From Swim News:
The chief executive of Swimming New Zealand Mike Byrne is reported to have cleared out his office in readiness for quitting after an independent review of the sport in his country recommended that the entire board resign and the role of chief executive be overhauled.
The review, carried out by the former chief executive of the New Zealand rugby union Chris Moller, was undertaken after a falling out between the national body and its regional organisations over the governance of governance.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

The USOC evokes the "What-about-the-children?" card in negotiations with the IOC..

When I hear United States Olympic Committee (USOC) President Scott Blackmum speak, I say to myself what a really bad liar! When I hear International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge speak, I say to myself what a really good liar!

So who do you trust: the good liar or the bad liar? Answer: You grab for your wallet as tight as you can.

Here are some facts: The IOC received a payment from NBC for rights for extended Olympics coverage for  $4,380,000,000:

From The Chicago Tribune
"...more than 40 percent of the USOC’s four-year operating revenue comes from the 12.75 percent of U.S. broadcast rights; [ A whopping $4.38-billion for the next three Olympics I believe.]  and 20 percent of IOC global sponsorships. And the U.S. is the only significant Olympic player that not only operates without government funding but also trumpets that as a source of pride. .." 

That's a lot of money! 1/2-billion-dollars just in broadcast revenue alone. The IOC is upset about that and they have a pretty good argument, or what I call the good liar argument: they feel our government should be subsidizing the governing bodies not the IOC. In retaliation there are whispers that the IOC is saying NO-WAY to an Olympic Games staged in the USA. Nonetheless, it's my opinion that the IOC simply wants more money

The USOC, who is making $1/2-billion-dollars-plus is stating; and I kid you not, that if they don't make that sort of money, the shortfall would have to come from the athletes themselves.

Read that last sentence slowly: The USOC, who is making $1/2-billion-dollars... (by the way, what does the USOC want to do with that money, build their own rocket ship?) ...and if they don't make that sort of money, the money would have to come from the athletes themselves!Outrageous, don't you think?

The USOC is threatening to make the athletes pay-up but isn't that what they have been doing all along? Scott Blackmum salary is about  $638,407 a year. Chuck Wielgus of USA Swimming is $800,000-plus. I do not know what  IOC president Jacques Rogge makes but none of these guys are suffering.

So, if the USOC does not get their way, how much will USA athletes have to pay to make up for the shortfall of a reduced $1/2-billion-dollar payday?

In 2008 the USOC sent 596 athletes to the Olympic Games and barring all the donations from Coke, British Petroleum and the child athletes themselves who pay dues to their respective governing bodies, the US athlete who has no chance of making it to the Olympics is being asked to pay-up if the USOC can't make their $1/2-billion-pay day.

UPDATE:  I am adding my two-cents... Make it 4-cents. I believe the USA should subsidize our national governing bodies so as to have more financial oversight and the athletes themselves can have better representation through their respective congress member.

Armani: This is how cool swimming could be!

Armani meets Italian swimming and this video is so boss!

 I am at work, rushing madly, expect typos today. Another rant coming regarding the drama queens at the IOC and the USOC, talk soon.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The International Olympic Committee is drug testing samples from as far back as 2004!

Like a slow motion street arrest in an urban episode of COPS the IOC is actually catching drug cheats from a decade or so ago. I don't think any other professional sport or otherwise has been this aggressive in trying to nail drug cheats.

From the Australian:
"The doping tests in 2004 in Athens were already very sophisticated," [Jacques Rogge, IOC president] said yesterday. "Naturally, we will test them again to study all the possibilities."

The Beijing retests caught five athletes for use of CERA, an advanced version of the blood-boosting drug EPO. Rashid Ramzi of Bahrain was retroactively stripped of his gold medal in the 1500m.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Boston Herald: "...Phelps has found his fire in the pool again" - SCAQ Blog: No he hasn't

First off, congratulations to Ricky Berens who beat both Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte in the 200-free. The outside press who don't cover swimming as often as we would like were not so fair to Ricky Berens' accomplishment. One headline I read: "Phelps beats Ryan Lochte in the 200-free", and then the subhead which did not appear on my newsreader read "...but Ricky Berens beat them both."

Ricky Berens beat them both - Congratualtions. You rocked it!

Back on topic: Has Phelps found his fire in the pool again? No, he hasn't. The fire extinguished four years ago once the 2008 Olympic flame extinguished. If he had "found his fire" again he would would not be so gleeful when discussing the subject of his retirement coming up fast this September.

No, if he had his "fire" back he would be talking about reconsidering or speaking about how he will miss it but we are not hearing that sort of rhetoric. We are hearing: "I HATE MY JOB and I want my gold watch, damn it."

His performance over the weekend when compared to the lead-up performances in 2007 do not even compare. Note, his results have nothing to do with his "swimming through the meet" this past weekend or "training hard." Missing or jamming a turn at the 150-mark of the 200-free because of a "odd bulkhead" is a sloppy thing to do as a professional. Ricky Berens had the same bulkhead as Phelps to deal with.

From the Boston Herald:
"... A goading Lochte said recently that Phelps "would be dumb" not to swim the 400 individual medley in London. But neither Phelps nor Bowman has publicly taken the bait.

"It wasn’t fun," Phelps said of the defeats. "But I put myself in that spot, the spot to not swim the times I want. He was just kinda rolling over me. It wasn’t fun to be on that end, and it became something very motivating for me. ..."

His lack of motivation has HUGE consequences for both USA Swimming and FINA and they both know it. When Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps leave this sport there will be an enormous, economic, vacuum for there will be no "two-dogs and one-bone" plot. There will be no more greatest athlete ever to root for. This will be a huge problem. For instance, was USA Swimming Nationals on TV last year? No it wasn't for Lochte and Phelps did not swim it and that is how bad it will be when he leaves.

Within FINA's Ivory tower plans are being made to transition to a world without Michael Phelps and RyaN Lochte. The sun is rising in Asia and it's time for new world records to reinvigorate the sport. I predict techsuits will return from their temporary exile which will get boys interested in swimming and Masters Swimmers will again be dreaming of setting new records.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Possible new jellyfish rediscovery?

Is this a hoax; I don't know? I have seen a similar type of creature known as a Spanish Dancer but this creature, if it is real, is oddly asymmetrical and seemingly alien to this world.

I wonder what its calorie demands are and what it eats?

From RT News:

According to the information on the screen, the video was recorded at a depth of 5,045 feet (1,538 meters) – reportedly, by a remote-controlled underwater cameras during deep-sea drilling near the UK.
Some scientists believe it to be Deepstaria enigmatica, a jellyfish first described after a deep-sea submersible dive in 1967.
“This bag-like jelly is not that rare, but is large, so rarely seen intact,” Steven Haddock, a scientist from California, said on his “JellyWatch” Facebook page."This type of jellyfish is usually found in the south Atlantic Ocean, some 5,000 feet below."


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Welcome to the USA Swimming suasage factory: Tara Kirk versus USA Swimming, Rebecca Soni versus Tara Kirk!

"Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made." -- John Godfrey Saxe, American poet, 1816-1887

When one looks at the finer details as to how a USA Swimming Olympic team is put together, one sees a "sausage factory" and the swimmers are its "pork bellies."

When Jessica Hardy tested positive for Clenbuterol at the 2008 Olympic Trials, she was ultimately denied a berth on the 2008 US Olympic team for a doping violation. Next in line to replace her in the 100m breaststroke would have been Tara Kirk. However, Tara Kirk was immediately denied that spot due to sloppy scheduling and poor administrative practices by USA Swimming in regards to the handling of drug tests and even the timing of the Olympic trials themselves. But could the protestations of Rebecca Soni to allow Kirk onto the US Olympic team have had an effect as well?

The time-line went like this:

On July 4th, 2008, Jessica Hardy was scheduled to swim in 'Event 108' the 100m breaststroke. Hardy would swim against the following athletes: Amanda Beard, Rebecca Soni, Meghan Jendrick, Annie Chandler, Lindsay Payne, Elizabeth Tinnon and finally Tara Kirk.

The top four results:
1. Jessica Hardy
2. Meghan Jendrick
3. Tara Kirk
4. Rebecca Soni
On that day Jessica Hardy submitted two "A" and "B" urine samples for drug testing at the USADA labs; (US Anti-Doping Agency labs), Sample "A" was tested first and came up positive. This test result was sent directly to and received by USA Swimming on Friday, July 18th, 2008. This is an important date to remember since USA Swimming had to identity their Olympic team members on or before July 21, 2008, or replace disqualified team members with existing Team members.

On the following Monday morning, July 21st, USA Swimming fully knew that Jessica Hardy had flunked both her doping tests but this was the day they had to declare a team!

Though it was late July, there was still time for Tara Kirk to be placed on the Olympic team. John Ruger, the US Olympic Committee's athlete ombudsman; (An official appointed to investigate individual athlete complaints against maladministration), stated to Mark Schubert that he would have the USOC petition both FINA and the Beijing Olympic Committee to allow Kirk to swim. Olympic Team Coach Mark Schubert decided to go with the "drop-dead-deadline" rule instead and not make that request presumably because he knew Hardy had due process avenues.

Though Tara Kirk broke no rules, made no mistakes and did what she was told, it was the poor execution and timing of the USA Swimming Olympic trials that severely punished Tara Kirk and denied her a spot on the US Olympic team. This was not fair - thus USA Swimming and Tara Kirk went to arbitration.

Kirk quickly hired lawyers, Richard R. Young and Steven B. Smith of Holme Roberts & Owen, LLP to represent her grievance to the execs at USA Swimming but then something odd happened...

Enter Rebecca Soni: Though Soni technically was not a party to such a hearing, Soni enters her objections in having Tara Kirk added to the team by way of a lawyer named Blake Lawit, of Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk & Rabkin.

To be clear, saying that Soni was technically not a party to such a hearing are not my words but rather those of the arbitrator, Alfred G. Harris who subsequently states the following:
"...Though not technically a party, Rebecca Soni ("Soni") is an interested person and was granted the right to interpose her objections to the injunctive relief sought by Kirk at this expedited hearing. For purposes of this Decision and Interim Award, any general references to "Parties" will include Soni, unless the context indicates otherwise."
With Soni "armed" with lawyers and named as an "interested person" and then compile that with USA Swimming lawyers who were arguing against Tara Kirk as well, one has to ask whether Tara Kirk's request for relief was essentially "double teamed" by lawyers?

I wonder what Soni's objections were and why were they not mentioned in the "memorializing of the oral Decision" provided to all the lawyers on August 7, 2008? This is not a rhetorical question.

On August 12, 2008, the womens 100m breaststroke Olympic final took place. The results below:
1. Liesel Jones (AUS)
2. Rebecca Soni (USA)
3. Mirna Jukić (Austria)

The reference for this blogpost is the "memorializing of the oral Decision" provided to counsel on August 7, 2008" located here at the TEAM USA website.

Welcome to USA Swimming's sausage factory. Natalie Coughlin is right: USA Swimming's holds their Olympic trials too close to the Olympic games with no regard to potential athlete issues, preparation, or justice requests. The 2008 Olympic trials are an example.

A large variety of sausage casings are produced world-wide using the intestines of pigs, sheep, goats, cattle and sometimes horses. Although the intestines were previously flushed, scraped and cleaned by hand, more recently, machinery has been used for large scale production. Sausages in the 1800s had no rules but today a sausage can contain no more than 50% of it's weight in fat. (Reference: Wikipedia)

UPDATE:  I did some extra research and apparently Tara Kirk came to some sort of settlement with USA Swimming that they are both happy with. I am not happy with them but she is and that is the most important aspect of this post.
"... Terms of the settlement were not announced, by mutual agreement. The parties issued a joint statement saying the matter had been "resolved to the satisfaction of all parties. ..." 
Let's hope this does not happen again this year.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Amazing freediving gallery at CNN

I think freediving is ill advised and extraordinarily dangerous beyond belief and should not be practiced but I do admit it is both aesthetic and super-human beyond belief.

CNN freediving gallery: [Link]

Michael Phelps' contrasting quotes: "I'm in shape!" - "depends what kind of shape I'm in"

Michael Phelps tells the news magazine show 60-Minutes " now approaching the shape he was in before Beijing..." - later tells the Huffington Post when asked how many events he will swim in London:  "...It just depends what kind of shape I'm in at that point and what I think my body can handle under those circumstances. ..."

I am going to say what everybody is thinking but nobody will say: He hates his job. He's burned out. He does not want to work out 5-hours each day. Michael Phelps is the greyhound that caught the rabbit and went, "wait a minute, this isn't a rabbit. It's a plushy toy! What the ...! You mean I've been working out 5-hours a day for the past 20-years and all I get is this $1.99 plushy toy. I am in the wrong business. I know, I'll start a dog school and teach other dogs how to chase this thing! Yeah, that's the ticket."

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Sports Illustrated interviews Michael Phelps

His responses were measured and he stayed on message regarding retirement. He was cagey about his goals for London 2012. He stated with a mild qualification that the toughest "country" to compete against for the United States team will be the United States Olympic team. You recently said London will be your last Games. Could anything change your mind?

Michael Phelps: No. I've always said I don't want to swim past 30 and I know if I go one more, I'll be over 30. I don't want to ever be that person where people are like, God, he's this old and he's still doing it or he's been around for this long. So once I'm able to accomplish the goals that I have, if I can look back at my career and say I've been successful, that's all that matters to me.

I for one am concerned about the mens freestyle events which includes all the relays.

50-free, the Brazilians, French or Australians.

100-free, the Brazilians or Australians.

I think the only mens freestyle events we have a chance at doing a two man sweep in would be the 200-free and I wouldn't bet on it. Any country in the final could win.

Regarding the 400-1500-freestyle events, China! When was the last time we won a distance medal in the mens 1500-free? (Answer: 1984: [Link]

I am optimistic about the 4x200 free relay though China looks tough.

As for the 100-free relay, I have to give it to the Australians and the French.

This is not 1972 anymore. The world has caught up and definitely surpassing us in most freestyle and breaststroke events on the mens side. America has the pools and the coaches but American colleges and perhaps the parents and kids are not seeing any economic rewards for the time and effort it takes to put on a program or become an Olympian.

A swimmer ranked say number ten in any swimming event is probably making less than $50,000-a-year. A tennis player ranked number-50 is making $400,000 and that is just in winnings. Reference: Donald Young's 2011winnings: [Link]

With schools closing programs and no money to draw prospective athletes to the sport, we may soon see the rise of a new swimming superpower from a country that promotes the economic incentive to be the best.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

This I learned today: Sharks have denticles!

A shark's 'denticles', are thought to behave like the dimples on a golf ball, thereby reducing the drag. Now here is the best part, they move.

I want some!

From Science Daily:
"...George Lauder from Harvard University explains that the fish have long inspired human engineers, but more recently attention has focused on how the fish's remarkable skin boosts swimming. Coated in razor sharp tooth-like scales, called denticles, the skin is thought to behave like the dimples on a golf ball, disturbing the flow of water over the surface to reduce the drag. But something didn't quite sit right with Lauder. ..."


Mel Stewart connection to the John Trembly investigation and firing!

Hats off to Mel Stewart who did the right the thing by outing John Trembly's malfeasance and subsequent drug dependency issues to both the University of Tennessee officials and later the police.

I commend Stewart because he illustrates how many problems in this sport would have been resolved or never would have happened in the first place if those who were in the know came forward and put a stop to such rotten behavior. Whistle blowers are a good  thing.

Rotten behavior in the Tembly case defined: propositioning what he believed to be a 17-year-old boy to visit his hotel room in exchange for pot and methamphetamine as a reward. Collecting money from alumni in the guise of a school donation when it wasn't.  

Latin saying: "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes" or who watches the watchmen? - In this case it was Mel Stewart.

From the Knox News:
The investigation kicked off with questions from a former Olympian about Trembley hitting up boosters for money. A graduate student, Drew Rutherford, complained on Dec. 2 that Trembley had asked former UT swimmer Melvin Stewart, a Trembley protégé and 1992 winner of two Olympic gold medals, for a check made payable to him personally, according to a UT police report.

Stewart then called Coleman Weibley, UT director of swimming operations, to ask what would be done with the money, saying Trembley might be hitting up others for cash as well. University officials questioned Trembley and brought up rumors of drug use that he didn't deny.


The article I linked to details Mel's involment and it also details how pathetic Trembly was and what a complete embarrassment he is to the University of Tennessee and the coaching staff around him. The evil that men do live long after them... The University of Tennessee must be mortified that they actually paid this guy $180,000 a year to fleece their alumni for "crack money."

Incidents include bragging about his sexual prowess while under the influence of methamphetamine, or 'Ms Tina' as he called it, emails to what he presumed was a 17-year-old boy as mentioned above and that unto itself has a "creep factor" beyond belief."

Of course he blames all of this on depression; a rhetorical device politicians and movie stars use as of late, and I don't believe it. I acknowledge that every man and woman fights a private battle and that some people have more character than others but this guy had to drag an institution into the sewer with him.

USA Swimming should put him on the banned list. Maybe God and rehab "cured him" but the fact that he had the potential to solicit sex from a minor in exchange for the same drugs that corrupted him is too big of a crime to forgive.

Friday, May 04, 2012

John Trembley won't be charged; but he did get fired over sexually graphic emails

John Trembley was fired and put under criminal investigation for four months. I had heard rumors of drug addiction and financial malfeasance but he was ultimately fired for having what has become quite a cliche in our sport, sex issues. Along with that were admitted drug issues too but it was the sex stuff with the university that got top billing for his firing.

"...During an examination of these issues, the university discovered that Coach Trembley had engaged in a number of intolerable acts using his university e-mail account. ..." The phrase "filthy fantasies" is thrown out there too.

To be fair to Trembley, the police investigated the coach up-and-down and though his "filthy fantasies" as the university describes them were sexual in nature along with his "...intolerable acts using his university e-mail account," the police did not arrest him for it.

From Go Vols Extra:

KNOXVILLE — Suspicions of mismanaged or stolen money uncovered no crimes, but an investigation found a secret life of online sex, drug addiction and filthy fantasies led by John Trembley, the disgraced former University of Tennessee men's swim coach fired earlier this year, authorities said today. 
The sport has a problem and though it is getting pretty good at banned lists and investigations, apparently it needs some "preventative sauce."

Thursday, May 03, 2012

"Das Antwerp Badboot" - In the summer it's a pool, in the winter it's an ice rink!

Antwerp is a city and municipality in Belgium. Fine artists such as Rubens, van Dyck, and other Baroque painters made a home there and to this day it is still a charming place with equally charming ideas.

Example: A ferry destined to be salvaged is suddenly rescued and transformed into both a pool when it's summer and then an ice rink when it's winter. How about that for a recycled, multi-use, venue. It goes live this August.

They call it the "badboot" which translates to "Bathing Boat."


The floating swimming pool features an Olympic-size swimming pool, a children’s pool, lounge areas, a restaurant/bar and additional event space. Visitors to the pool can enjoy the amenities for 4 euros a person. The eco-friendly facility also features a reedbed water purification system to clean the water from the port, LED lighting and the reuse of an old ferry boat. To maintain the water’s warm temperature overnight, the pool water will be drained into a buffering hold below the pool, which will also reduce evaporation. 
Badboot has a contract with the city for 10 years, at which point it could be moved or remain. During the winters, the pool will be frozen into an ice rink for skating and curling activities 

There is a gallery at Inhabitat which is pretty boss!

Australia's Jessicah Schipper undergoes emergency surgery!

Schipper rushed to hospital after experiencing bleeding from an ovarian cyst. After some research on what an ovarian cyst is and what it looks like, I have decided to forego a photo illustration and description. (Look it up and you suddenly feel a boatload of sympathy for her.)
From Yahoo Sports: 
".."Ended up having a cyst that was bleeding. All fixed now. Just very tired and sore," tweeted Schipper, who won bronze medals in the 100m and 200m butterfly at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. ..." 

 She is obviously very brave and quite strong.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Japanese swimming federation reconsiders high altitude training post Alexander Dale Oen's death!

 I for one hate to be blunt; (actually, no I don't), but I am hoping that Alexander Dale Oen's passing will be thoroughly investigated so that whatever killed him can be prevented and understood by athletes and coaches alike.

News reports state that Mr. Oen had died after a light training session.

FOX News reports:

Japanese federation official Koji Ueno said "under the circumstances, we can't send our athletes who feel uneasy about what has happened."

Read more: [Link]

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Inspiring: CGI Frog does the butterfly like a boss!

Poetry in motion; can't wait to see is breastsroke.

Japanese Commercial: How to win the 50m Free

Sent to me from a reader, an over top way to win a 50m Free LCM.

When I went to Japan, I would surf the TV for commercials rather programming. It was so boss to see Jodie Foster pimping coffee or Antonio Bandaras driving a Suburu. I don't know what these swimmers are selling but I will buy it!

McDonalds "Olympic" menu! - ESPN Satire

I didn't find any of  it funny but the photo of  Phelps and Ronald is pretty epic.

I love it that Ronald in the photo above appears to be Asian and female as well
 Just a few American fast food insults from ESPN:  
 • Any burger ordered “triathlon style” will include a beef patty, a fish patty and pickles pinned to the side to resemble bicycle wheels. 
• North Korean athletes will be afforded the chance to pose for pictures with Kim Jong-Un as he takes frequent refueling breaks between his many athletic conquests. 
• Anyone who can finish 20 McNuggets faster than the men’s 200-meter butterfly gold medal time will be awarded with a flight back to America, as it’s the only country that will tolerate such behavior.  

Speaking of McDonalds, they are opening a restaurant for the games that will sit 1500 people. It will be their largest McDonald's restaurant ever and employ some 2,000 people. Side note, 12,000 people actually applied which is a serious endorsement for them as an employer. Though I am no fan of  fast food, one has to acknowledge that McDonald's has been one of America's best ambassadors.

This Mail Online article is a must read:

McDonald's began its involvement with the Olympics in 1968 when the company airlifted hamburgers to U.S. athletes competing in Grenoble, France. 
The firm first became an official sponsor at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal and in 1984 McDonald's footed the bill for the Olympic swimming stadium in Los Angeles. 
The London Olympics will be the ninth games where McDonald's has acted as the event's official restaurant and the only branded food retailer feeding the athletes. 
Usain Bolt, the world's fastest man who won gold at the 100 metres in Beijing in 2008, claimed that chicken McNuggets were key to his success.